The blog’s look at the Hokies’ 2012 schedule continues today with Austin Peay, Virginia Tech’s yearly game against a team from the Football Championship Subdivision. If you missed the Georgia Tech previews, there are links at the bottom of this post.
Coach: Rick Christophel (18-37, 13-27 OVC, entering sixth season at Austin Peay; assistant at UAB, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Rice, Cincinnati before that)
2011 record: 3-8 (2-6 OVC, t-7th)
Looking back: Austin Peay failed to earn a winning record for a fourth straight season, finishing in the bottom half of the Ohio Valley Conference standings for the fourth time in Christophel’s five seasons in Clarksville, Tenn. After losing to FBS opponents Cincinnati and Memphis to start the season, things started out promising for the Governors, who upset an Eastern Kentucky team that would tie for first place 23-17 before rallying from a 21-point deficit to beat Tennessee State 37-34 on a late field goal. That made them 2-0 to start league play. Unfortunately, Austin Peay would lose six of its last seven, including all six of its remaining conference games. Against UT Martin, Jacksonville State, Tennessee Tech and Murray State, the Governors were out-scored 210-68.
- Rushing offense: 169.91 ypg (37th FCS, 7th OVC)
- Passing offense: 159.82 ypg (100th FCS, 7th OVC)
- Total offense: 329.73 ypg (85th FCS, 8th OVC)
- Scoring offense: 18.82 ppg (102nd FCS, 9th OVC)
- Rushing defense: 199.09 ypg (105th FCS, 7th OVC)
- Passing defense: 218.09 ypg (78th FCS, 6th OVC)
- Total defense: 417.18 ypg (104th FCS, 7th OVC)
- Scoring defense: 36.00 ppg (109th FCS, 8th OVC)
- Turnover margin: -.64 (92nd FCS, 8th OVC)
Offensive starters returning/lost: 7/4
Defensive starters returning/lost: 9/2
Losses: RB Ryan White (2nd All-OVC, 1,110 rushing, 6 TD; 179 receiving, TD), WR Thomas Scott (28 catches, 299 yards, 2 TD), C Tim Schmid, OT James Barker, OT J.P. Washington, S Amius Smith (1st All-OVC, 81 tackles, 8.5 TFL), CB Sheldon Wade (36 tackles, INT).
Returnees: QB Jake Ryan (1,478 yards, 12 TD, 15 INT), RB Wes Kitts (495 yards, 2 TD), RB Ean Pemberton (171 yards, TD), WR Devin Stark (53 catches, 627 yards, 7 TD),WR Terrence Oliver (15 catches, 120 yards), WR/PR Tee Howell (11.4 punt return avg., 1 TD), G Jacob Langston, G Chris Hartman, DT Iosua Siliva (20 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks), DT Anthony Marion (24 tackles), NT Reese Bulmash (21 tackles, 2.5 TFL), DE Earnest Smith (33 tackles, 4 TFL), DE Rip Rowan (24 tackles, 6 TFL), LB Josh Carroll (76 tackles, 4.5 TFL), LB Darrick Dillard (52 tackles, 4 TFL), LB Craig Salley (35 tackles, 3 TFL), S Antwaun Majors (91 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 INT), S Enriques Perry (40 tackles, 4.5 TFL), S Steven Rich (33 tackles), CB Steven Ragin (25 tackles, 3 INT), CB Tyreon Clark (22 tackles, INT), PK Stephen Stansell (10-19 FG), P Ben Campbell (37.6 avg.).
- Sept. 1: at Western Kentucky
- Sept. 8: at Virginia Tech
- Sept. 15: at Tennessee State
- Sept. 22: vs. UT Martin
- Sept. 29: at Eastern Illinois
- Oct. 6: vs. Murray State
- Oct. 13: at Eastern Kentucky
- Oct. 27: vs. Southeast Missouri
- Nov. 3: vs. Culver-Stockton
- Nov. 10: at Jacksonville State
- Nov. 17: vs. Tennessee Tech
Strengths: Ryan is back at quarterback for a third season and has a legitimate receiving threat in Stark, who had more receptions and touchdown catches last year than any Governor since 2006. But Austin Peay likes to control the clock. At running back, Kitts, Pemberton and Reco Williams will try to replace 1,000-yard rusher White, an All-Ohio Valley Conference performer. Defensively, Austin Peay has almost everyone back. The secondary is active in the Governors’ 4-2-5 scheme, led by Majors, the team leader in tackles. Although they use five defensive backs, they’ll show an eight-man front, putting their safeties in positions to make plays.
Weaknesses: The offensive line lost three of its starters, including the center and both tackles. Ryan, while experienced at quarterback, is also mistake-prone. He threw 15 interceptions last year and only completed 53.1 percent of his passes. Austin Peay isn’t very explosive, finishing near the bottom of the FCS in passing and scoring offense. On defense, the Governors didn’t supply much pressure at all last year, finishing tied for 118th out of 120 teams in the FCS in sacks with only nine in 11 games. Teams didn’t have much trouble scoring on them last year, averaging 36 points a game.
Fun fact: (Per the athletic department’s website) “In the infant years of intercollegiate competition, Austin Peay’s athletic representatives were often called ‘Normalities’ or ‘Warriors.’ The present ‘Governors’ tag surfaced around 1937, probably as a tribute to Governor Austin Peay.”
Also … “The cheer ‘Let’s Go Peay’ became APSU’s battle cry during its first two NCAA appearances in the early 70′s.”
Series with VT: First meeting